MALU SHARMAPreparations are in full swing to celebrate the birth of ‘Natkhat Bal Gopal’ in the city of temples and households. Markets are flooded with Krishna idols in all shapes and sizes and other decorative items. Beautifully decorated cradles for Lord Krishna in different shapes and sizes are the main attraction. From stone-studded ‘Mukut’ and flutes to bright zari dresses, the choice is endless. City markets are flooded with a variety of items required to set up the customary tableaux at homes. From stone-studded Mukut and flutes to bright Zari dresses and from fibre temples to colourful necklaces, the choice is endless. The centre of attraction this year is the stone studded jewellery sets which have become a hit among buyers. “The stone studded jewellery sets for Lord Krishna and Radha are the most sought after. Unlike other jewellery sets, these are long lasting as they neither turn black nor get damaged by termites,” said Gagan Sharma, a shopkeeper at Pacca Danga. These sets range from Rs 220 to 750. The new addition in the market also includes Kundan studded jewellery sets and black stone Krishna Idol. Black stone and clay idols of Lord Krishna from Mathura are the major attraction. The turban style Mukut and Singhasan with Morpankh print on it are popular too. The vibrant coloured dresses with Zari and patch work are in demand. Picking up items to make tableau at her home, housewife Shilpa Yadav said, “During my childhood days, my Dadi used to stitch dresses and spend a lot of time collecting other things to decorate it. But now, every item is available in the market for convenience of people. Moreover, the dresses and the new stone studded jewellery sets are the centre of attraction.” Talking about how they celebrate birth of Lord Krishna, Vaishno Devi, a senior citizen said, “We observe fast all day and do not even drink water. We distribute Prasad (sweets) to everyone and prepare Panchamrit, coconut sweets, Meva Katli, Panjiri and Lord Krishan’s favourite Makhan-Malai. At home, we make small tableau depicting the Lord’s birth and decorate it with colourful lights, flowers and Red Dupatta. At midnight, the idol of Bal Krishna is placed inside the Jhula which signifies the birth. Then traditional Puja is done chanting Bhajans and then finally, we eat the Panjiri made at home.” “My kids are enthusiastic about setting up tableau and a Krishan Jhula at home. We are decorating the Puja room with colourful lights and a Jhula with small idol of Lord Krishna placed in the centre. A special Puja is performed at night and after that Prasad is distributed to everyone,” said Rita, a homemaker.
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